State wants 'stand your ground' inquiry for Zimmerman

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State wants 'stand your ground' inquiry for Zimmerman

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SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

In killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman claimed he shot the teenager because he felt threatened and that it was an act of self-defense.

Under Florida's "stand your ground law," a defendant who believes he was acting in self-defense has the right to request a pretrial hearing to determine immunity from being prosecuted.  Put simply, if one is found immune, charges are dropped and the defendant gets to move on with his or her life.

State prosecutors want as much of a guarantee that the stand your ground right will not be invoked during the upcoming trial and have filed a new motion to conduct a "full inquiry" of Zimmerman.  

Prosecutors are essentially requesting that Judge Debra Nelson ask Zimmerman if he wishes to waive his right to the stand your ground claim.  If Zimmerman doesn't do that, the concern is that, if he were to be convicted, he could ask the judge to overturn the conviction, based on the stand your ground law.

Stand your ground hearings usually happen before the actual trial.   Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, has indicated that the defense doesn't have the money to have expert witnesses appear twice -- once for the pretrial hearing and once for the actual trial -- and doesn't necessarily have the resources to prepare for such a hearing.  He has even suggested combining the hearing and the trial into one proceeding, which the state opposes.

Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charge.  His trial is scheduled for June 10 and is expected to last about two weeks.

For more on this story, visit OrlandoSentinel.com.

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